Frequently Asked Questions

  • When did you first get into magic?
    When I was about 9 years old I saw an absolutely hysterical magic show. Two magicians were going to perform a guillotine act, and they spent what seemed like a half hour arguing about who was going to go in the guillotine. I was instantly hooked.
  • How did you learn magic?
    I started out as a kid reading books at the library, and watching beginner magic VHS tapes. I knew by the time I was ten that I wanted to be either a magician or a comedy writer. After high school, I studied Acting / Drama at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, and at The William Esper Studio Those years weren’t dedicated to magic head on, but I studied comedy in depth, and it helped the show a lot. After I graduated from acting school, I was lucky enough to take extensive private lessons with two performers who are legends in the magic world. Gazzo Osborne, a legendary English street performer, who was recently featured on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us”, and Whit Haydn, a brilliant magician and comedian, who regularly headlines at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. I went full time in the early 2,000’s, and have been developing my own magic ever since.
  • Can you get me into the Magic Castle in Hollywood?
    Yes! I’m based out of the East Coast, but I am a member of Hollywood’s famous “Magic Castle.” The Magic Castle is a Victorian Mansion dedicated to magic. Each room is dedicated to a different style of magic. It’s a really cool old school Hollywood haunt. I was honored to performing a few of my original tricks there in 2011. It is a private club, and you must have an invite to attend.
    If you are invited, there is a strict dress code, and no photography allowed, but it is beyond worth it. If you are going to be in LA, feel free to reach out to me about going.
  • Do you teach magic lessons?
    Yes. I teach both beginner and professional magic to a few private students each year.
  • How can I improve my speaking voice?
    I have found one “magic” technique that has been more helpful than everything else I’ve ever tried combined. I’ve taken private voice lessons, done tongue twisters galore, etc. and this has been WAY better. I spend 30-90 minutes a day reading my show script with the tip of a wine cork in between my front teeth. It has been amazing in improving the tone of my voice AND all articulation. Good luck!
  • How do pros make it look so easy? Is it just a matter of talent?
    We “pros” have a secret – we used to be total beginners! Hard work, focus, and passion will result in a better show than great talent that is unpolished 90% of the time. Keep working – if this is what you want to do NEVER stop learning and improving your show. Develop a great script, study the theory of your art, and stay strong through the tough early days. You WILL get good, but it will take hundreds (or thousands) of shows!
  • How can I make my show funnier?
    When experimenting with new comedy, LISTEN to the audience. When they laugh at something, try to figure out WHY they are laughing. Every performer is unique, and you need to figure out what is funny about YOU. Write down everything you ever say on stage that gets a laugh. Read this list often. Trim down unnecessary words. Less sylables is usually better than more. If YOU like a line, and your audiences don’t respond to it – STOP DOING IT! The show is for the audience, not you! The happier you make them, the happier you will be. Keep a list of “Ad-libs” for situations that come up often. Having great material for these situations will help you keep the audience with you, as you steer back to your core routine. If something happens in the room that everyone is distracted by, don’t ignore it. USE it – find the humor. Have the courage to be in the moment. Don’t be afraid to explore and go off script. Be nice to the people who help you. Study Improv comedy. Try stand up comedy. Watch a lot of funny movies, and think about why the humor works. Have a lot of funny friends to share ideas with. Over time you will figure out who you are a performer, and what kind of material fits your style. WRITE, EXPERIMENT, REWRITE!
  • I’m an aspiring magician, what kind of tricks should I do?

    You should do the kind of tricks that YOU like to see. If you like seeing things levitate, levitate things – if you like mind reading, learn mind reading. Do the strongest possible magic that you can pull off.

    There is a tendency among amateur magicians to sacrifice the power of the effect if it will make a routine easier to perform. ALWAYS do whatever you have to do to make the effect pure and powerful. If you have to practice 40 hours to get a trick up and running – DO IT. The hard way is often the easy way.

    Don’t do material that requires a long and dull setup phase. No spectator wants to count 3 piles of 14 cards for you! Keep your tricks direct – If you have to do a card trick, have them quickly find a card, and immediately have it appear in a sealed envelope in their wallet. Is that WAY harder? Sure. But you can do it, and the reward is HUGE. In “Maximum Entertainment”, Ken Weber makes a great point that every moment of a magic show should have one of three reactions 1) Wonder 2) Laughter 3) Rapt Attention.

    Work on a small amount of routines until they are KILLER, and then slowly ad more routines. An amateur practices until he gets it right – a pro practices until he can’t get it wrong!

  • Is it really possible to make a living as a magician?
    Absolutely! If you are good with people, and are willing to develop a great show, and a business that makes it easy and fun to do business with you, you can make a handsome living performing magic. You will have to work a LOT harder than you would at a regular job to get things off the ground, but it will be worth it. DEVOUR business books. DEVOUR magic books. Give your customers a great experience from the moment they call you to your final bow (and beyond).

    Study marketing, and bust your hump finding people to make happy with your show!

    Remember that your show is about making your clients have a great time – it is NOT about your ego! Have integrity in everything you do! Treat people right – if you say you are going to do something, DO IT and over-deliver. When people see an amazing trick it’s natural for them to talk about it. If they have good things to say about you in that conversation, word of mouth will get you lots of work over time!
  • What audio gear do you recommend?
    High quality sound is extremely important to create a pleasing experience for your clients.
    If you are a pro I recommend spending the extra money for top of the line equipment – it will last a lot longer, and sounds SO much better. This is the setup I use for most shows. I don’t get anything for recommending this gear, and I hope it’s helpful to you.

    1) Mic – DPA d:fine Single-ear – Omni, Beige
    DPA produces some of the highest quality sound equipment in the world.
    These mics are often used by Broadway productions. Many experienced sound board operators have told me that this is the best mic they’ve ever heard. I recommend an omni directional headset, as the mic has a wider “sweet spot” than a condenser if it gets moved around in live performance.
    Approx Cost: $580

    2) Transmitter / Receiver – Sennheiser EW 112-p G3 – A Band, 516-558 MHz
    This transmitter / receiver set is used by many top TV & Film Crews.
    Both units run on AA batteries. You can plug this system into pretty much any house sound system.
    Approx Cost: $630

    3) Mic to Transmitter Adapter. – DPA DAD6034
    This makes items 1 & 2 work together.
    Approx Cost: $93

    4) Speaker – w/ receiver – Anchor Explorer Pro – EXP-8000U1
    This is a great speaker for local shows, and for theater audiences of under 1,000 people.
    Battery powered, sounds incredible, and fairly lightweight.
    Approx Cost: $950

    5) Anchor Handheld mic – for speaker above. WH-8000
    Great battery life – works with the built in receiver for the speaker above.
    Approx Cost: $320

    I do NOT recommend buying Anchor Audio’s headset mic transmitter pack instead of the Sennheiser unit.
    I’ve had several anchor audio headset transmitter packs die on me.
    The equipment above is all built like a tank.
    Good luck!
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